I wanted roast chicken today but not potatoes as we’ve had a few this week. It’s not set in stone that you have to serve your Sunday roast with potatoes. The tomato sauce for the chickpeas is made with the juices from the chicken and it’s so delicious. The roasted fennel is a beautiful accompaniment but my kids say it’s “mean and horrible” so I nuke some peas for them instead.
Serves 2 Adults & 2 Kids (with leftovers)
2kg free range chicken
1 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper
small bunch each of rosemary, sage & thyme
1 large white onion
250ml chicken stock
2 bulbs fennel
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Tomato Chickpeas Recipe
200g whole tomatoes
1 tsp salt and 1tsp sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tins of chickpeas
1 cup of frozen spinach
- Remove any packaging from the chicken and leave it to come to room temperature one hour before roasting. If the legs are trussed cut through the string and release the legs. Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan).
- Drizzle a tsp of olive oil over the chicken and grind over with salt then rub evenly all over the chicken. Peel the onion and slice into 4 equal discs. Put the discs in the centre of the roasting tray and place the herbs on top. Place the chicken on top of the onion and herbs so that all the herbs are hidden under the meat so that they don’t burn.
- Pour in the chicken stock. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb and drizzle a little olive oil on the exposed cloves. Wrap the bulb in foil then into the roasting tray. Put the pan into the oven for 30 minutes to brown the chicken.
- Remove the fennel fronds and keep for later. Cut the fennel into quarters. Cut away the base and core (leaving enough core to hold the leaves together). Put the fennel quarters into an oven proof dish and toss with the olive oil and salt then cover with foil.
- After 30 minutes baste the chicken and grind over some pepper then return to the oven along with the fennel and turn the heat down to 195°c (175°c fan) for 45 minutes.
- Once the chicken is done turn off the oven and remove the chicken to rest on a plate, pouring off any juices inside the chicken back into the pan. Leave the fennel in the residual heat of the oven until you’re ready to serve.
- Discard the herbs then tip the roasting pan juices and onion into a food processor. Add the whole tomatoes, salt, sugar and Worcestershire sauce then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the bulb and into the processor. Blitz until you have a smooth sauce.
- Put the drained chickpeas in a large skillet then pour over the tomato sauce. Add the frozen spinach to the sauce and cook until the spinach leaves have separated and cooked. Squeeze over half a lemon and taste to adjust for seasoning with salt or pepper.
- Take the fennel out of the oven and squeeze over half a lemon then sprinkle over some chopped fennel fronds. Carve the chicken and serve with the chickpeas and fennel.